Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Lose It! 4.0

I have been using the Lose It! app for a few years now, but since they just released a great new upgrade, I thought I'd do a new review to show off the changes.

The basic idea is still the same: Log food and exercise and stay within a calculated calorie target to lose weight.  Users can log food and exercise on an iPhone, Android, or from the web on any computer. I have the iPhone version, which is what is pictured here in the screenshots. I took these this morning after my workout.

The cute icons are still there, which I like because they give me a quick visual idea of what I have eaten, drunk, and done that day. If the food I want is not in the Lose It! database, I can either scan a barcode to enter the food, or enter the nutritional information yourself, and choose an appropriate icon for it.

It's also easy to add whole meals from the "Meals" section, which is nice because I tend to have similar breakfasts and lunches day after day.  You can also add combinations of foods as recipes, which I have done one or two times. Usually if I am adding a recipe, I just add it as a food using the nutritional information from the recipe.  The database is fairly extensive, but doesn't have some common ethnic restaurant foods.

This version fixed something that was a major annoyance for me.  If I added a food to Breakfast that I meant to add to Lunch, I used to have to delete the food and re-add it to the right meal. Now Lose It! allows users to edit a food and change the meal, as well as the serving size. That makes logging much easier. Lose It! does not currently have a feature to track water by glasses, but there are entries for water. The option to add a new food or exercise can allow a creative user (like me) to track things like supplements or meditation by designating them as 0-calorie items. The one feature I would like at this point that is not available is the ability to track hunger before and after meals.

The new daily view is attractive and simple. It is nice to have the macronutrient graph on the front page so I can easily see what my protein, carb, and fat ratios are for the day so far.  The app also shows how many calories under (green) or over (red) budget I am.  I find the color cues very intuitive, but something like 10% of the male population is red/green colorblind, but I guess that they would just have to pay attention to the text and not rely on the color cues.

The new release hasn't changed every screen.  The "My week" page hasn't changed a lot. The red/green pattern is also used here to show how close I have found that the weekly calorie counts in the app track pretty closely to my weight loss (or gain) on the scale for that week.  The past week, I was 2000 calories over, and since my goal for the week was to lose a pound and a pound is 3500 calories, I predicted (rightly) that I would lose about half a pound that week.

In short, this was already a great app and the changes have made it better. There are some new Premium features for the app, like meal planning and integration with devices like the Withings scale and the FitBit. I don't have those devices and I am happy with the free version for now. I saw from the online forums (also part of the free site) that there are a lot of users who are really excited about the premium features, but so far I'm not ready to pay $39.99 a year for them.  If they ever offer a free or discounted preview, I might consider trying the upgrade. It's still less than Weight Watcher's eTools, and Lose It! has the advantage of letting users set their own weight and calorie goal numbers. I like this app because it puts me, and not some corporation, in the driver's seat.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, appreciated hearing all about it.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07